I’m Angie Manning, Founder of What’s Your Problem? and from time to time in my work I speak to professionals who I greatly respect and hear them say something like ‘but they don’t need a solicitor for that, it’s just directions or it’s just a small claim’, but my own view is that if you have a legal problem it’s best to do so, or at the very least get some legal advice. Having met with people who have had neither and got themselves in a pickle at court, I cannot stress how important it is to seek advice.    

The issue of course is that many people can’t afford to pay solicitors’ fees for legal advice and representation and it’s those people that we really want to help in a way that is affordable for them. That’s one of the reasons that (with the help of the National Lottery Community Fund) we have funded free legal advice for clients who contact us for support.

A word about Legal Aid

Legal aid was drastically reduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act which came into effect in 2013. Many clients who we assist now would have qualified for free legal advice and representation prior to 2013. That being said, legal aid is still available in some circumstances, so if you have a legal issue please check with a solicitor whether you qualify for legal aid, as that could make all the difference to you. Some solicitors will also offer free legal advice, so it’s worth asking about that too.

So what if I can’t get legal aid and I can’t afford a solicitor?

Please contact us to see if we can fund some free legal advice for you. We can also talk to you about the public access scheme which means you go direct to an expert barrister for advice, representation and drafting, without instructing a solicitor. If we cannot help you to arrange this then we can still support you to represent yourself as a litigant in person. It’s not an ideal situation, but we know that sometimes that is the only option available. If this is the case then we can help you complete the paperwork, comply with deadlines, write a statement and come to court with you.

If I have to represent myself, can you give me legal advice?

Unfortunately not in these circumstances, as we are not legally qualified to and we operate in accordance with very strict ethics. We will do everything we can to help you, but it wouldn’t be fair to give you legal advice when we’re not qualified to do so. Instead we can give you practical support and information to help you make decisions for yourself. In small claims we can come to court and provide you with lay representation if you do not feel that you can represent yourself. In the Family Court and other civil matters we can only offer a Mckenzie Friend service.

What’s a McKenzie Friend?

A McKenzie Friend is someone who comes to court to help you if you do not have legal representation. They don’t have to be qualified and can be a friend or relative of yours. They can provide you with moral support, take notes, help you with your papers and quietly give advice. They are not allowed to speak to the court, question witnesses, manage your case outside of court or act as an agent without the judge’s permission. A good McKenzie Friend can be a great help to you. If you are considering paying a professional McKenzie Friend then it is important to check that they are insured, find out if they follow a code of conduct or if they belong to a membership body. Professional McKenzie Friends are unregulated and do not have to have insurance, so if things go wrong you may not have any protection. That being said, having a good McKenzie Friend can make a big difference to you if you have to represent yourself. A McKenzie Friend will still need permission to come into court with you, but If you are unrepresented and need support, there is a presumption which is in favour of allowing you to have a Mckenzie Friend to support you in court.

My personal preference is that everyone who has a legal issue or has to go to court should have  legal representation and we work very hard to try and achieve this for every client, as we believe that it is the best thing for them. If you need help with a legal issue please get in touch on 01803 524044, so we can discuss how we might be able to he

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"I was given Angie Manning’s number to contact as I was desperate and didn’t know where to turn. I was in the middle of divorce proceedings and needed help to get a financial order. This was an extremely stressful situation as I had been left homeless with no income. I tried to apply for legal aid, but the process was so complicated and I had no money to go through further legal channels. When I met Angie I had no clue where to start, let alone how to process applications or statements. Without her help, strength and support both professionally and emotionally I would not have survived this process and I will be eternally grateful.”

"My life is about to move into another stage thanks to Angie from What’s Your Problem? Angie has been working to set me free from a very stressful situation for over 3 years. At times I thought I’d never get through it all but Angie has always been on the end of the phone, text or email when life was at its worst. Her professionalism and direct train of thought cleared the path to make way to our goal. I wouldn’t have got through this without Angie and What’s Your Problem?, I will always be in her debt and I can’t recommend her and her work enough.”

“Wow is my first word of this review, I could go on and on and write pages of wonderful positive things I have learnt and experienced working with Kirsty. But to keep it short I am amazed at how I feel how I have new techniques to use to help assist me in my future. Kirsty knows her stuff and I have gained more in the months I have been with Kirsty than the years of other therapies I have done in the past. No luck needed for Kirsty as she is truly an amazingly gifted woman.”

“The service Angie offered was invaluable to me when seeking a divorce. I couldn’t afford expensive solicitors fees therefore the service she provided was ideal. Angie was always very professional & dealt with any issues promptly & efficiently. I would certainly recommend her services to others.
Thanks once again Angie, couldn’t have done it without you!”
Ms P

"I was really happy with the professional service I received it was exactly as described and very efficient.”
Mrs R

"The agency I was renting my hospital accommodation through were directly taking council tax out of my wages even though as a Nurse I was exempt from paying it. I provided evidence and they stopped taking the money out of my wages yet they refused to reimburse the 18 months I had already paid. I spoke to Angie who wrote them a letter and then called them and they've refunded all my back dated money. Nice little extra to put towards my new car!”
Mrs E

"Angie helped me to write an official letter regarding land we own. She did so professionally and non confrontational that it got us the result we wished for. Angie is a great lady and a If she can help, she will.”
Mrs R

“Thanks to Angie at What’s your Problem?, she helped me through a very difficult time for me and my family. She’s very approachable, friendly and extremely helpful. I would recommend this service to anyone. Thank you.”

“The robust Community Interest Company which was created to protect local and wider society members at their most vulnerable times. They protect your interest with all their might and you will soon feel as if they were part of your family. It is like using very down to earth knowledgeable lawyers that don’t cost you an arm and a leg and just as good if not better. They also may give you a ring to make sure you are ok when you are having hard times, even if it is a Christmas Day – because they really care.This was from my own experience. Angie played such part in my life that I will never forget her and what she has done for me. It’s shame I can only give them 5 stars as I would give them all stars in the sky.”

“In September of last year I was faced with solicitors letters and court proceedings from my sons father to whom I had separated from. My low-income was stopping me from getting the help I needed. I contacted Angie Manning, her non judgmental support and caring attitude put me at ease straight away. I was happy to receive her support and guidance. She and her team have helped me considerably through-out the last 9 months. The advice and her understanding have been second to none, she and her team went to great lengths to support me and my family in what I can only call an extremely stressful time. She has brought the joy and positive future back to my son and I and hope she will continue to help many families and situations in the future. I feel very honoured to have received the services from ‘whatsyourproblemtorbay’ and it’s reassuring they will continue to help vulnerable people in times of need.”

“The way a court works and the all the paperwork was completely alien to me and when it is necessary to learn all of this for the most important reason, my children’s future, I was a complete fish out of water and very panicked- I really had no idea how to prepare bundles and how to get my points and feelings and worries across in a court environment. Angie was amazing she helped me with everything, she organised me , and all my paper work and she was there in person many times to support me in court and when she was there she really helped me to feel more at ease in a really frightening and stressful situation. Not only has Angie helped me in so many practical ways she helped to change the future for my children. She has enhanced their little lives by giving their mother the tools to get all the right and important facts across to the court. Myself and my family will be forever grateful to her for all the time she has put into helping us so successfully. Mrs H

“Ms Manning is a professional experienced legal advocate; assisting and supporting me through some very difficult times. Her attention to detail, patience and communication is faultless. My personal situation has been challenging and Ms Manning has successfully represented me, submitted documents to authorities, and followed through on promises made with successful outcomes. She represents the ‘little people’ who need help and is a legal angel. I was lost in a litigious fog not knowing which way to turn. Ms Manning has, in a very short time frame, given concise and experienced counsel and the fog has lifted. I would recommend her services to anyone who needs legal support and counsel. Mrs M

A chance meeting introduced us to Angie Manning who had recently set up her new business offering affordable legal support. This encounter has proved invaluable as it came at a time when the defendant in the case I was taking through the small claims procedure had the finances to enroll a solicitor. Angie’s legal experience brings re-assurance and her friendly manner puts you at ease. She makes you feel valued and that makes a difference. I would recommend Angie without hesitation. Mrs D

I am so thankful for all the help you have provided and given me over the past just under 2 years. The work you do and the help you give people is just incredible. Thank you again so much, I will forever be grateful. Ms P

"I learned of What's Your Problem by word of mouth. I was lost in unknown territory after family mediation came to an end without reaching any agreements with my ex-wife. I was extremely nervous about starting court proceedings to get time with my children. Angie immediately put me at ease with an initial friendly chat about my situation and then helped me to make some key early decisions about how I wanted to move forwards. Angie was able to explain options that I was previously unaware of including appointing a 'direct access' barrister. Angie accompanied me to my first hearing and kept me going, helping me to stay focused when my anxiety levels were very high. My case was difficult to resolve and took several hearings including going through the covid lockdown period. Having Angie on the other end of the phone was invaluable to me during that difficult and lonely time. I'm very pleased to be able to say that the end result was that I was able to get precisely the arrangement I was hoping for at court. Now, two years on I can look back and see how the support I received from What's Your Problem was exactly what I needed and I cannot recommend the service highly enough."

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for all the help and support you have given me. 
Without your help, support, patience and guidance I would never have been able to complete my paperwork. 
As you were aware I suffer many challenges and illnesses. You always made sure to fit me in when I was able to attend. Made sure I felt safe and comfortable. You went above and beyond to assist me and for this, I will be forever grateful and so appreciative. 
The work you do for so many people like myself is such a blessing and I'm so very glad that I was referred to you and that you do what you do. 
I thank you.

Nooo, thank you for giving me your precious time this afternoon. I can't thank you enough Richard.

I simply couldn't have filled a single page of that form in without you talking thru the questions and me talking thru what I felt before me writing it all down.

You are a priceless man, and I feel blessed to have you guide me thru this process to the end.

My kindest sincere thanks Richard.

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